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Black Community Opinions

Local Voices: Teachers Appreciation Week, May 8-12 – Teachers Are My Heroes

We will celebrate “Teachers Appreciation Day/Week,” (May 8-12, 2017). Since 1985, the Tuesday (May 9) of that week has been observed as “Teachers Appreciation Day.”

This is an opportunity for citizens and supporters to show their appreciation and reaffirm their commitment to the parent-teacher-student partnerships.

Being a former social worker, part-time teacher, youth and family counselor, school volunteer, and juvenile probation officer, I have nothing but the highest regard and profound admiration for teachers.

Teachers are truly America’s “unsung heroes.” Yes, they are!

Teacher are one of our “best bangs for the bucks.” Teachers are cost effective on a daily basis and an ongoing investment that yields great dividends for our future. Among many attributes, they mentor, encourage, challenge, discipline and empower our students. Their works and contributions are a national treasure that keeps on giving…for us and our children.

Over the many years and decades, I have seen teachers work indefatigably to overcome the many obstacles that confront our students: parental noninvolvement, student apathy, insufficient funding, inadequate leadership, negative environment, debilitating subculture, and the like.

Most teachers perform a true “labor of love.” And, they epitomize the principle and philosophy of “A life is unimportant except for the impact that it has upon others.” (Jackie Robinson)

Teachers manifest the purest sense of the helping relationship – helping others to become all that they can be. Teachers empower our children to become whole, curious and optimistic. They give our students guidance, hope, inspiration and promise.

With few exceptions, I have found teachers to be competent and caring. I have seen teachers give students their “roots of responsibility” and “wings of wonderment.” They have insured that “no child is left behind,” long before someone created the slogan.

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I have seen teachers go the extra mile to “make things happen” for their students. If it were important or needed, they made it happen for their students. In coping with their students’ anxiety, alienation and ailments, I have seen teachers take on the roles of mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, mentor, tutor, counselor, mediator, disciplinarian, policeman, referee, judge, peacemaker, preacher, nurse, director, organizer, taskmaster and, more importantly, full-time “human being.”

I have seen teachers go in pocket for school supplies, teaching aids, refreshments, recreations, parties, plays, PTA meetings, school outings, and all kinds of things. Further, I have known teachers to buy students – and other family members – clothes, food baskets, shoes, personal items, household appliances and the like. I know teachers who have gotten utilities turned back on and paid the rent. I know teachers who visited homes after hours and on the weekend trying to empower students and families.

When it comes to teachers, I think of the poet, Maya Angelou: “Hope has conspired with the wind and blown away the demons of despair.” Along with parents, teachers are our “hope” when it comes to our children.

Therefore, we should encourage all teachers to attain their maximum potential in the classroom. We need to give teachers room to operate and allow them “to do their thing” in the classroom. Teachers need our respect and cooperation in order to “get the job done” for us and our children.

Let me say it “loud and proud”: Teachers are my heroes! I thank God for them! They are my heroes!

John L. Horton resides in Norfolk and is a frequent contributor to this newspaper.

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